North Dakota Statehood

North Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. South Dakota also became a state that same date, but North Dakota was first.

The reason behind the order of the states' entering into the Union is a conflicted one. South Dakota and North Dakota were both part of the Dakota Territory, but South Dakota residents did not want to become one state. So, they insisted on applying for statehood separately as a North and South Dakota.

Because of the intense rivalry, the sitting president, Benjamin Harrison did not want to show favoritism by choosing one state to admit before the other. His solution was to shuffle the papers and without looking at which one he signed, admitted them into the Union anonymously. Since the actual order was never known (or never recorded anyway), North Dakota is listed first in rank because they are first alphabetically.